Learn about the Pugh Matrix, a great tool that can be useful for almost any group decision-making process.
Part six of a series.
We’ve all been there: You and a half dozen of your closest colleagues locked all day in the last available – and smallest, coldest – conference room for a critical planning session. Session topics: annual budgeting, strategic planning, or staffing.
The future of your entire organization – and potentially the fate of the entire global economy – hang in the balance. Then, about halfway through the meeting, you’re faced with the most important decision of the day… What to order for lunch?
It’s typically easier to get your co-workers to decide on an ERP vendor than it is to reach consensus on dining options. That debate has led to blood feuds rivaling the Hatfields and McCoys. If only there was a tool to objectively select the best option for everybody in a room.
Simplifying the Group Decision-Making Process
Well, there is! That’s where the Pugh Matrix comes in. The Pugh Matrix is an easy-to-use, group decision-making tool that assesses alternatives against performance criteria. So let’s see how it works for our lunch example…
We’ve set up our matrix (as shown above) by listing our four options on the horizontal axis and our decision criteria on the vertical axis. We’ve also applied a weighting score to the criteria based on relative importance (Vegan Options being the most important here, because we all remember the Great Tofu War of 2013 and the associated rampage by Jill from Accounting).
Now we’re going to score each option against our baseline alternative (for this example, let’s say that our baseline option is everyone walking downstairs to the office cafeteria). So we’re just going to assign a score for each option in each category based on whether it’s better or worse than the baseline.
- +2 (much better than)
- +1 (better than)
- 0 (equal to)
- -1 (worse than)
- -2 (much worse than)
So now our matrix looks like this:
Now comes the hard part: math.
But it’s pretty easy math. Multiplication and addition. Pythagorem Theorems and stochastic modeling capabilities aren’t required. We’re just going to multiply each score by the weighting factor, then add up the scores for each option.
Our completed Pugh Matrix looks like this:
We can clearly see that Panda Excess receives the highest overall score against our decision criteria and can be objectively selected with minimal in-fighting or subjective debates. So, Jill from Accounting can drop the spork and get down from the conference table.
The Pugh Matrix is a great tool that can quickly be done on a whiteboard or Excel spreadsheet. Best part: It’s useful for virtually any group decision-making, including:
- Selecting hardware vendors
- Choosing the best job applicant
- Prioritizing process improvement projects
In summary, choosing the best solution for any problem doesn’t have to be complex nor subjective. Using a simple version of a Pugh Matrix can remove personal opinions from the equation and allow you to focus on the option that best meet the needs of the entire organization.
Want to learn how you can use this to prioritize business process improvement projects? We can help.